Entries in Grand Larceny (2)


New York Brothers Charged in $5M Lottery Scam

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two brothers have been charged with attempted grand larceny and conspiracy after they waited six years to claim a $5 million lottery scratch-off ticket that they allegedly scammed from a customer at their family’s convenience store in Syracuse, N.Y.

Andy Ashkar, 34, still claims that he brought the winning ticket himself in 2006 at his family’s store where he also worked.  Ashkar had said that he waited six years to split the money with his brother, 36-year-old Nayel, because he worried the cash would negatively affect his engagement to his girlfriend.

“I would have hoped that at some point in the last six years he would be convinced that she did marry him for love,” District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Tuesday.

The two brothers were arrested Tuesday and, if convicted, Andy Ashkar could face up to 25 years for felony criminal possession and stolen property.  Nayel Ashkar could face 15 years for grand larceny and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Fitzpatrick says the real winner is a hard-working, 49-year-old married father of two who authorities are calling John Doe.  Lottery officials were suspicious of the brothers from the start because of how much time elapsed before they came forward, according to Fitzpatrick.

Andy Ashkar waited till the very last minute to claim the prize in March.  He told lottery officials he would take a lesser amount if they could avoid the usual lottery news conference to announce the winners.

Suspicious lottery officials, in hopes that the real winner would come forward, put out a detailed press release that the brothers won the $5 million prize, Fitzpatrick said.

John Doe had been fooled into giving the ticket to the brothers in October 2006 because he was confused by the number of zeroes on the ticket.

“He wasn’t thinking clearly at the time,” Fitzpatrick said of winner’s initial reading of the ticket.  “He says to a buddy he won $5,000.  The friend says, `No, I think you won $5 million,’ and he says, `No, it couldn’t be.’”

Police say that Andy Ashkar, who was behind the counter, told the man that he won $5,000 as opposed to the $5 million, and offered to pay him $4,000 on the spot to avoid taxes and other complications.  John Doe took the deal on the spot, according to police.

“For six years he has lived a very pedestrian life struggling and working hard.  I would be just thrilled to death -- his life just completely changed around,” Fitzpatrick said.

Bob Durr, the lawyer for the brothers, said they will plead not guilty.

The John Doe tells authorities that he’s always had this nagging feeling that he was cheated by the brothers.  He’s expected to come forward soon and receive the $5 million prize six years in the making.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Driver of Horrific Bus Crash Previously Arrested and Convicted of Manslaughter

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The driver of the casino gambling tour bus that crashed on a New York highway Saturday, killing 15 people, had a history of driving without a license and other vehicular offenses and served nearly seven years for manslaughter and grand larceny.

Ophadell Williams, also known as Eric Williams, told police a tractor trailer rear-ended the bus, triggering the crash, but according to multiple sources, State Police investigators have repeatedly gone over the truck without finding anything linking it to the crash.

With lack of evidence casting further doubt on the driver's version of events, National Transportation Safety Board officials said they will again interview him.

Williams has a string of arrests and convictions that included charges in 2003 of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license and unlawful possession of radio devices and police scanners.

According to New York State Department of Corrections records, Williams was convicted of manslaughter in April 1992. He served three years in jail, including 361 days before being convicted.

In 1998 he was convicted of grand larceny in Manhattan and served four years in state prison, from April 21, 1998 to May 15, 2002. He had also served 106 days of city jail time on that charge.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state inspector general will begin an investigation of how a man with Williams' criminal record and driving history could have gotten a commercial driver's license.

Investigators into the crash will speak with witnesses at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, the bus's departure point, to piece together Williams' actions the night before the accident.

Officials want to know what he ate and drank, and whether he had slept before climbing behind the wheel to drive 32 passengers to New York City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio